Here are a few examples of how I usually approach creating concepts and illustrations.
The original thumbnail.
Expanded composition with some "hero" buildings blocked out.
A little bit more tinkering.
Correcting the perspective and adding more details.
Experimenting/adding some elements and toying around the composition to get more depth.
More toying around. Thank goodness for layers!
Even more of the same..
Tidying things up, adding some highlights on the top of the buildings. Added in an explosion. Alien invasion, concentrated plasma storm, orbital strike..? Who knows!
Added some additional post-process effects such as bloom, some bokeh lens effects, and some color grading to help get a better composition.
Initial composition blockout with some texturing.
Some more texturing and more details in regards to the kind of damage has been incurred into the setting.
Even more texturing! I've also added more props and structural elements to help support the composition and storytelling.
At this point, I'm trying to find a nice balance between the interior and the exterior (Inside-Out). I've also added a primary light source to the image (prior to this, it was all ambient-lighting). A chunk of the roof has also been carved out in order to bring a bit more breathing room to the background.
Silly signage and more props have been added in or to dress the set. The characters have finally been put in to help tell a story. Did you guys happen to notice some sneaky fellows sneaking around the image?
God of Winter
Original 30 minute sketch.
Starting with thumbnails would have worked best here, but this was initially just a speedpainting.
At this point, I wasn't sure if I wanted the piece to be about the character or the environment. So I tried extending the canvas to get more of the environment in as an experiment.
Settled on a composition and starting to figure out the design of the character.
The final character with a mask.
The final character without a mask.
"Land Of" - Garage
Thumbnails exploring different compositions and lighting scenarios.
Blocking out the composition and bringing in some photographic elements.
Referencing previously designed vehicles and bringing in some characters.
Adding in more details and props.
Some more dramatic lighting, fleshed out areas, and redone characters
Added some post process effects and color grading. Also brought in some fisheye lens distortion
Marvel VS DC
Greyscale thumbnails to explore the action and general composition and lighting of the image.
Imported photographic elements for the buildings and started doing a rough blockout of the three main characters.
I ended up preferring the composition flipped. I started adding a bit of atmosphere and a bit more definition to "The Hulk".
I just wanted to give you an idea of how much distorting I have to do sometimes. :p
Added lighting and more atmosphere. I referenced all of these characters' film-based counterparts.